According to the Centers for Disease Control, adults with disabilities have a 58% higher rate of obesity than adults without disabilities. Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) face challenges related to eating healthy, maintaining weight, and being physically active. People with I/DD also experience three times the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer as compared to the general population. The Arc’s Health and Fitness for All program provides education and resources that will help people with I/DD make healthier decisions in their daily lives.
The project’s training curriculum was developed by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and provides overall structured information on how to organize and start a tailored physical activity and health education program for people with I/DD. The 12-week course is an evidence-based program designed specifically to meet the needs of individuals with I/DD and focuses on healthy eating, portion control, and physical activity. Each session concentrates on a different health message and includes an exercise component that encourages participants to stay active. Since 2012, The Arc has reached over 950 participants with the use of the HealthMatters curriculum and provided those with I/DD the tools and resources needed to lead healthier lives.
The Health and Fitness for All program is made possible by the Anthem Foundation.